by Roy Steele
Washington, DC: Today the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that state gay marriage bans violate the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees due process and equal protection under the law, for all Americans. The Supreme Court invalidated state gay marriage bans, and extended same-sex marriage, to all fifty states and territories, of the United States.
In a 5-4 decision, Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, ruled in favor of marriage equality, and Chief Justice John Roberts, and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito, dissented from the majority.
Justice Anthony Kennedy has been the author of every significant gay rights decision in the court’s modern history, and is often characterized as the “swing vote” on the court, and the Obergfell v. Hodges case was no different.
Writing for the majority, Kennedy says:
The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. Same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. Baker v. Nelson is overruled. The State laws challenged by the petitioners in these cases are held invalid to the extent they exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.
The Court, in this decision, holds same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States. It follows that the Court also must hold—and it now does hold—that there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its same-sex character.This is the most significant gay rights decision in our nation’s history.
A gay couple living in Bar Harbor, Maine , on the eastern seaboard, or in Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i, or in Old Harbor, Alaska, or Bal Harbour, Florida, can get married in every state, since the Supreme Court ruled that LGBT Americans are entitled to equal protection under the law.
Writing for The New York Times, Adam Liptak writes about the decades long struggle for LGBT equality, and describes the scene in the courtroom.
The decision, the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of same-sex marriage.
Justice Kennedy said gay and lesbian couples had a fundamental right to marry.
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family,” he wrote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., in a dissent joined by Justice Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, said the Constitution had nothing to say on the subject.
As Justice Kennedy finished announcing his opinion, several attendees seated in the bar section of the court’s gallery wiped away tears, while others grinned and exchanged embraces.
Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired in 2010, was on hand for the decision and many of the justices’ clerks took seats in the chamber, which was nearly full as the ruling was announced.I never thought in my lifetime, that I would ever see this day.
I am so proud to be an American, and especially proud to be a gay American.
Happy LGBT Pride month!
Let the celebrations begin.
straight talk in a queer world. jiveinthe415.com
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